Ishrat case: order on Vanzara, Amin discharge pleas likely on Thursday

Petitions moved after Gujarat government declined sanction to prosecute them

April 30, 2019 01:38 am | Updated 01:38 am IST - Ahmedabad

A special CBI court said on Monday that it is likely to pass an order on May 2 on the pleas of retired police officers D.G. Vanzara and N.K. Amin seeking dropping of proceedings against them in the Ishrat Jahan alleged fake encounter case, after the Gujarat government declined the sanction to prosecute them.

The court had earlier concluded hearing in the case on April 16, and had kept Monday as the date to pass its order.

Section 197 of the CrPC

The two retired police officers have sought that proceedings against them in the case be dropped as the State government has decided not to grant sanction to the CBI to prosecute them as required under Section 197 of the CrPC. Under the section, the government’s sanction is necessary for prosecution of a public servant for an act done as part of official duty. The court had in the past rejected their discharge applications in the case.

While the CBI refused to take any stand on the State government’s decision to decline sanction to prosecute the two accused, the mother of Ishrat Jahan, Shamima Kauser, has opposed their applications.

In a written submission made through her lawyer Vrinda Grover, Ms. Kauser said that the pleas to drop proceedings were “untenable in law and unsustainable on facts”, and that the State government was not the appropriate authority to refuse sanction to prosecute the two officers. She said the order of the State government amounted to “interference with the administration of justice”.

“It is a matter of record that it is the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and not the State, which is the appropriate sanctioning authority in the case,” she said.

Ms. Kauser contended that Section 197 was not applicable in the case that deals with “abduction, confinement and murder”, which were grave and heinous crimes falling outside the scope of official duty.

“The material on record shows that there was no encounter/confrontation with the deceased, that the encounter was set up and a fake encounter staged,” she said.

Mr. Vanzara’s lawyer V.D. Gajjar argued that the court cannot determine the validity of the sanction order and any review was not possible. He said judicial findings of the case had established that there was no “fake encounter” on part of the police officers.

He said the sanction for prosecution was declined after the State went through materials on record, examined the facts and circumstances of the case fully.

Ishrat, a 19-year-old woman from Mumbra near Mumbai, Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjadali Akbarali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were killed by Gujarat police in an alleged fake encounter on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004. The police had claimed that they had links with terrorists.

The chargesheet filed by the CBI names several police officers, including Mr. Vanzara and Mr. Amin, who recently retired as a Superintendent of Police.

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